INTERVIEW: The Running Channel’s Anna Harding discusses online trolls

By Kwame Boakye
July 29 2020, 19.35

A running enthusiast has taken her love for the sport online in a bid to inspire and assist the next generation of runners.

Anna Harding, 32, is the face of The Running Channel, which is dedicated to providing information, hints and tips for runners worldwide.

Prior to joining the channel in 2018, Anna worked behind the microphone as a broadcast journalist for the likes of Bauer Media and Global Radio.

However, being the face of a YouTube channel has exposed Anna to the world of online trolls.

A portrait photo of Anna from The Running Channel running wearing black lycra running leggings and a pink top. She is smiling and her long dark brown pony tail is swishing in the wind.
ACTION SHOT: The Running Channel’s Anna Harding

She said: “When I did the backyard marathon, I did an interview with Good Morning America, stupidly when they published the story I read the comments.

“There were comments that were like, ‘are we meant to believe that someone who looks like that can run a marathon?’”

Anna first started running in 2017 with the goal of running a marathon before she turned 30.

When she first arrived at The Running Channel their social media following was virtually non-existent, they now have more than 147,000 subscribers.

The level of exposure/scrutiny is something she deals with on a daily basis.

“When we first started my main worry was getting trolls and nasty comments, I get lots of comments about my weight and my appearance which none of the male presenters get,” she said.

“I just don’t get why people do it, if you’ve got nothing nice to say, why is it ok to say things like that?”

Anna from The Running Channel with a big grin posing with her London Marathon medal. She is wearing a pinky orange sleeveless top, she is wearing a running watching with a light blue strap and she has black headphone around her neck. Her dark brown hair is in plaits resting on her shoulders.
RUN-DEFUL: Anna with her London Marathon medal

While the comments section can be a tempest sometimes better left unseen, Anna does generally enjoy a great rapport with followers of the channel.

She is often inundated with requests for signed pictures and is regularly recognised at parkruns.

Anna’s popularity has soared mainly through the bizarre running challenges she undertakes, these include the aforementioned backyard marathon (2,000 laps of her back garden) and running a mile every hour for 24 hours.

Anna takes her burgeoning fame in stride, she said: “It’s awkward in itself that I get recognised, because I’m just me, I never set out for that.”

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